Ordinary advertising can work in the short term. Brave advertising, assuming it’s not also stupid advertising, can hook into the consumer’s consciousness and work for years. If you ever saw this for Apple, you haven’t forgotten it: 1984
Being brave means having the guts to be really good or really bad. Both cut through the clutter by either making a bid for the consumer’s affections (good) or by being memorably annoying (bad). In between are pansy ads that take no risks.
Excellent advertising aims for high-level (not necessarily high-budget) creativity that’s relevant to the product or service, appeals to the viewer’s values and delivers something memorable, whether it’s hilarious or touching or dramatically stylish. See how Axe Peace did it with only the most tenuous of benefits: Axe Peace
Horrible advertising does much the same thing, but dares to be so annoying, it burrows into the brain, lays eggs and won’t leave. Low budget is not the defining factor here. Some brands throw garbage trucks full of cash at perfecting “horrible.” See how Subway did it: Subway $5 Footlong
Being brave begs the question: Is it worth it?
Probably not for everybody. If you’re a visionary like Steve Jobs or have a good imagination or have hired an agency who knows a great idea when it births one, you should by all means go for the gold ring. If you don’t trust your instincts or your marketing people, your agency or your product, stay in known terrain and dare to be what you are. Being ordinary can work. There are plenty of work-a-day ads that get the job done.
If your advertising resembles someone else’s, you’re not brave enough. In fact you’re a chicken for hiding in the comfort of familiarity, even though it does nothing to distinguish your brand and may help your competition by looking like them.
If you blame the size of your budget, you’re not brave enough. Swinging for the fence takes good ideas more than big dollars. Lavish productions may dazzle, but do they deliver substance? Strong ideas do. Here’s one for FedEx: We Apologize
Bravery gives you a shot at commercial immortality. Nike, Capital One, Old Navy, Geico, Volkswagen, Coke, Dos Equis and others are household names because of it.
If you’re good with being good, fine. If you have a vision for greatness, then gather your best guns, go forth and conquer.
– From the Brain Trust @ Creative Dimensions